So, what else is new?

Just keep digging into history of any area long enough, and one can find news or events that have been tested and failed numerous times before. For instance, let’s try moving the municipal beach back to Lake Flower.

Mayor Tim Jock and his board directed me, as village manager – if I didn’t accomplish anything else – to move the beach from Lake Colby back to Lake Flower. Now with all the officials behind it and my appointed Sons of the Beach Committee working on it, with plans drawn for the water and sewer lines for a bathhouse, with “most” of the residents for it, it failed. A large, vocal group opposed the move with many legitimate concerns: Some of the beach property is gone, River Street is three lanes of traffic and too dangerous for crossing, and part of the beach is now a wetland. HELLO! there is a oxymoron if I ever heard one. So let’s see how the new move-the-beach committee makes out; it ain’t gonna’ happen, folks. How many times and how many man hours have been spent on, let’s see, how about if we make Saranac Lake a city? Been there, done that. Wait, how about we consolidate Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake into a new county named Adirondack County? None of our three communities have anything in common with the two county seats, Elizabethtown and Malone. Maybe not a huge study but we sure spent a lot of time talking about it.

The Post-Standard, 1935

I am so lucky that my readers think of me and rather than just throw out old newspaper clippings, as this lady was about to do, they bring them to me. I am writing these columns way ahead, but on Feb. 25, Ann Cooney, whose mom, Sylvie Bola Cooney, was a speedskater in the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid when the sport for women was a demonstration event, brought me a tattered copy of the Syracuse Post-Standard dated Feb. 22, 1935. There is a picture of the King and Queen crowning at the Olympic Arena, and her mom is in that picture. We’ll get to that bigger story later. However, that page from 1935 is just loaded with stories, not just about Lake Placid but also Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Malone.

More on consolidation

Now how about this? Wouldn’t it be nice if we take that part of North Elba and St. Armand in Essex County and make that area part of Harrietstown, lop off that section of Essex County and make it part of Franklin County? I have heard that idea more than once in the last 82 years, but wait until you read this from the Post-Standard headlines:

Petitions out for Saranac’s consolidation – Harrietstown would gain first-class standing thru move

“Saranac Lake – In continuance of the movement started here recently to consolidate those parts of Saranac Lake, which now lie in Essex County, with the town of Harrietstown, petitions relative to this change are being circulated in the respective areas.

“One of the most important results of such a project would be sufficient increase in population in the town of Harrietstown to enable it to become a first class town, thereby bringing many additional benefits to this vicinity. It would also make for easier assessment and collection of taxes, as well as easier handing of work relief projects.

(New York towns are classified by statute as being a town of the first class or a town of the second class determined by population. However, the playing field was leveled by the state Legislature in 1964. Until that time, first-class towns had more legal power.)

“The proposed consolidation would bring into the town of Harrietstown, and consequently into the county of Franklin, those portions of the town of North Elba and St. Armand in Essex County, which are now included in the incorporate limits of Saranac Lake.

“Cutting down the tax revenue of the towns and county affected, it is expected that plan will bring the strongest opposition from town and county officials. Proponents of the change declare that persons living in the designated areas are desirous of becoming a part of the town of Harrietstown.

“When the petitions are completed, they will be presented to Senator Benjamin Feinberg, Senator Rhoda Fox Graves and Assemblymen John Black and Fred Porter, members of the state legislature from this region. It is understood that prominent state officials favor the move.

“A precedent for such a consolidation was the creation of Bronx County in 1913. That the change was desired was shown thru a state referendum, with a special act of the legislature making it official. It is said that such would be the procedure in the current case.”

Do you suppose that Harrietstown town Councilman Ron Keough, a former supervisor, was behind this move. I know he’s been on that board for a long time, but 1935? However, he had a vested interest in that area because his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Keough, owned the very nice Keough Motor Lodge (telephone 891-1970) where the Best Western is located today Hey, you never know.